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Columbus Conference Addresses The Different Sides of Opioid Addiction

Kelly Clixby is a 38 year old lady who sacrificed a lot just to feed her expensive habit. She was addicted initially to prescription pills for back pain then later on heroin. Her addiction cost her nearly everything including her husband, her house, her job and the custody of her kids. She's gone to jail a whopping 19 times, not to mention the stints spent in addiction treatment centers. At some point when she was in jail, she felt like there was no hope for her and prayed to God to either save her or take her life. Either option was good for her really.

Speaking at a conference held in Columbus on the 2nd of May to deliberate about the opiate addiction problem in the state of Ohio, she was a different person because her message was that of hope. Clixby asserted that treatment actually works and addicts have the chance to lead healthy and clean lives. After living for ten years as an addict, she has been clean since 2014, December. It has not been easy kicking the habit, but she's had plenty of help to support her recovery journey. She's remarried, has a new home and two of her daughters again living with her. In the meantime, she's studying in the hope of becoming a probation officer. Clixby notes that it's easy to get clean but takes a lot of effort to stay that way.

Ohio is currently grappling with a huge crisis of increasing number of accidental deaths due to drug overdose cases. It's also been frustrating to tame the problem because in spite of the concerted efforts from different stakeholders, there seems to be no real progress. Cheri L. Walter, the CEO of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities that hosted the conference, noted that addicts will always find an alternative when the supply to their regular drug is cut. That was witnessed when the state closed the pill mills and the addicts moved to heroin instead.

The 2014 expansion of Medicaid by the state of Ohio was a good move because it gave many drug addicts access to treatment, but there still exists challenges. According to Walters, some issues such as recovery support, detox facilities, continuous treatment, employment and housing for recovering addicts still need to be addressed in order to make the recovery process effective. Without these, the recovering addicts are likely to relapse and probably end up behind bars.

A lot of those who want to help contain the problem of drug addiction have endured the pain of losing a loved one as a result of this menace. Some of the parents present at the conference had lost their children as a result of drug overdose just a few days after being discharged from treatment centers. They now counsel other parents who are going through similar ordeals on how to cope. They say that the pain never goes away, but you learn to go through life with it. Through shared experiences, they are able to support one another and make life a little more bearable.

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